February 25, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal


I see by the Bill that
it is brought down to amend Dominion Elections Act.
For the purpose of the vote on a question submitted under the Canada Temperance Act directed by His Majesty's Proclamation dated the fourth day of June, 1920, to be taken in the province of Ontario on the eighteenth day of April, 1921.
Now the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen), in his explanation the other day, said (Unrevised Hansard, p. 253) :
I thought I had made it very clear when I first moved the motion that the reason the motion intervenes and that this Bill is necessary is not because the previous Act was insufficient in the circumstances, but that until at the very eve of the passing of the Act or just afterwards it had not been called to the attention of the Government that were a plebiscite to be held in the year 1920 there would be this extensive disfranchisement of the soldiers.
I understood that when the Franchise Act was passed, provision was made to cover the case of a vote being taken in Ontario, and that the lists of 1919 were to be used. The Franchise Act was assented to on July 1, 1920. By the present Bill I see that the proclamation was dated June 4, 1920, and that it fixed April 18, 1921, as the date for taking the referendum. Therefore, the Government were fully aware on July 1, 1920, that this referendum was to be taken on April 18, 1921.

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